The Comeback Of TV: How Direct To Consumer Brands Can Win Big

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With the cost of Facebook and Google advertising continuing to increase, television advertising might just be back in style. Until recently, TV ads may have been perceived as outdated by growth marketing leaders given the limited measurability of the platform. Instead of planning robust TV budgets, growth marketers invested the majority of their ad spend into digital—Facebook and Google, the comfortable ground zero of scalable digital advertising, where brands can reliably target key audiences, measure, analyze and optimize.

Unfortunately, that means nearly every direct to consumer brand eventually winds up advertising—and spending increasingly more to achieve efficiency—on Facebook and Google. Many brands struggle to reach and maintain economies of scale in digital advertising, while the rest hope a new channel will break onto the scene and provide an effective alternative to these digital behemoths. Rothy’s and Tatari say the answer to brand awareness and higher conversion is not trite, and it’s been there all along: TV.

At CommerceNext 2019 in NYC, Matt Gehring—SVP of Growth Marketing of Rothy’s—and Philip Inghelbrecht—CEO of Tatari—busted the biggest myths about TV advertising and showed how they broke down barriers by applying a digital approach to TV.

Rothy’s teams up with Tatari.

The direct to consumer brand (DTC), Rothy’s, partnered with Tatari and experienced firsthand how TV evolved to adopt digital best practices, particularly around measurement.

As Gehring describes it, Rothy’s is a highly successful direct to consumer brand, pulling in $140 million in revenue in its 3rd year. Rothy’s delivers “endlessly wearable, fashionable” footwear products with sustainability at its brand core. For the customer who loves versatility and wants to look “put together from the boardroom to the soccer field,” Rothy’s “front of closet,” any-occasion shoes also vastly decrease fashion waste. Every pair is machine washable through hundreds of wears, made from vegan materials and recycled water bottles and delivered to the customer in reusable packaging. By 2019, Rothy’s amassed a loyal customer base who couldn’t stop spreading the word on social media about the comfort, sustainability and washability of their shoes, yet brand awareness still remained low across the broader target audience.

Enter Tatari: a data and analytics company that applies to TV the same types of data and methodologies as digital advertising, as well as the same expectations of transparency and accuracy. As of 2018, Inghelbrecht points out that 125 of the top DTC brands named by IAB were already all-in on TV ads and finding success through the channel, investing a collective $3.8 billion to approach their TV strategy the same way as a digital campaign.

Just as (if not more) effective and scalable as digital.

Rothy’s and dozens of other direct to consumer brands are now easily debunking the top four modern myths of TV advertising:

  1. Myth: TV ads are expensive to buy and create. Using Rothy’s own initial campaign as an example, Gehring proves TV is not, in fact, an expensive channel. Because of advancements in tracking, Rothy’s exceeded its efficiency and CPV goals in its first relatively small $100,000 test. He implemented four creatives across 26 linear and three streaming networks garnering over 50 million impressions. Using Tatari’s granular data usually believed exclusive to digital campaigns, Rothy’s could optimize the creative (playing with copy, spot length, sequencing of scenes, end cards, CTA) to maximize performance and scale.
  2. Myth: TV ad reporting is slow. Traditionally, TV analytics could take a week or more. Tatari delivers reports the next day so brands can quickly optimize.
  3. Myth: TV ad reporting isn’t robust enough. Traditionally, conversions from TV could only be tracked to sales on a DTC site. However, TV ad analytics are now more robust than ever, enabling tracking across touchpoints, even to points of sale on Amazon.
  4. Myth: TV ads are limited in targeting capabilities. Always associated with broad audiences and high level viewership, the delivery of network streams via IP enables brands dig deep into audiences to a 1:1 granular level. Along with first and third party data, Tatari pulls in geographical tests, psychographic and demographic data and other performance data to achieve the same ability to continuously and quickly optimize.

Just like the ad spots themselves, scaling in TV requires multiple angles to reach the desired goal. Amongst other growth marketing tactics, Gehring says brands can experiment with audience look-alikes, trying expensive airings in highly localized/cheaper markets, utilizing a “rotational build-up” by first proving cheaper dayparts are effective before moving into more expensive parts and/or taking advantage of “national roll-ups” in which unsold local inventory is wrapped up and repackaged as a pseudo-national buy and sold at discount.

In contrast to digital, TV ads create a halo effect in efficiencies and growth marketing across channels and KPIs, such as click-throughs, time to purchase and conversion. Yet, like digital, attribution is not a clean exercise. Rothy’s learned quickly that the halo effect increased as they scaled in TV by measuring its ads against direct traffic, branded paid search and organic home page traffic. As the TV ad launches, Gehring also looks at Google trends and sees steep increases in brand Google searches.

How direct to consumer brands can commit to TV—and win.

TV ad buys reach a more captive audience than digital impression buys. TV ads incur higher memorability and higher amplification on social media, directly contributing to increases in conversion. Using IP-level data from millions of devices and people and growth marketing, direct to consumer brands can perfectly optimize reach and frequency, across both linear and streaming networks. But, if a brand truly wants to harvest the full potential of TV, both the brand and its TV buyers need to fundamentally change strategies, committing to higher reach and higher impact TV buys. Easily scalable with a profound halo effect, expansion into TV may just be the newest old trick in the book for growth marketing.

You can view the full session on our Youtube channel here.